Slower

I choose a minutes slower
route within Google Maps

Such a lottery takes us longer
as we drive through mid-Sussex

Huge delays are common here –
because J.Deere tractors blast

along summer’s uncut lanes –
that narrowing of back roads –

fuming in their camouflage
of brand green and yellow –

ploughing dead straight –
making cars meet hedgerows

We hit dry spittles of sunlight
under jiggered shadows –

Here old wapple ways
are low to fields – almost-gorges

hoofed out by tramped centuries
of stick-herded stock

Where canopies intersect overhead
as prayer-grabbing fingers lock

to make summertime rooflines
under which we drive in instant night –

swooped – whilst our confines
of air-conditioning and auto-beams

make us – modern travellers – immune
to such a cool pleasure as shade

A Common Spotted Orchid

For JC

It is a highly successful
coloniser of wasteland
and not at all in danger

Both my Google Lens
and a quickie Wikipedia
yielded to your knowledge

Just an assurance of such –
there was no doubt in my mind
that you were right – none at all!

Seeing such beauty has an effect –
How can a thing so vivacious
be left – without being taken?

An uncommon allure
among easy rough grass –
there is more to this orchid

Such observations ran quick
as my eyes and mind
took you – assiduously –
from behind

The Reading Room

We are looking about
at a screen-stuck-to
silvered generation
of eye-glued viewers
in trawl-warmed hands

Those old phone huggers
sit logged in to online’s
click-bait refuge
of tittle-tattle and gossip
and foreign muckiness

under scrolled fingering
for rolled eyes of delight
and instant connectedness
to others’ risen anger

Those mobile surfers ride
on a curl of upper lips
and toothless sneers –
set high by published lies

Thursday – Overground to Euston

We travel sober through London Bridge – below
brick arches – on roads cowered by glassy heights –
Our cabbie blasts bent-to-smartphone bodies
back from near-hits on red-man crossings –

it seems that Londoners have now forgotten
how to see the threats beyond their implements –
We now live hand-to-eye – no longer hand-to-mouth –
no shape-to-spoken words – now embedded emojis spout –

We briefly find speed over the river crossing
and then turn left through the gold standard of cheats –
of fund managers – of clerics – of bankers and white Gods –
where every seat and bench in the low sun is arse-taken –

Thursday lunchtime is the dress rehearsal for Friday excess
behind St Paul’s – and in the eateries of Clerkenwell –
in the stained and new cafes – at exotic roadside pop-ups
and in smoke-free pubs until ten o’clock that night –
Our ride is time travel and a belching reminder that
we are in a handcart to hell – instead of the Underground


 

Strung

Am I rebuffed by your cooling love?
I tremor under naked phone lines –
oscillating – now wind-touched –
Silent are our words in the wires
which we strung to allow such whip –
Without voices they are set to squinch
and tighten before a snapped mishap
of misunderstood tensions – of speech –
No text – no reveal – such cold harm
here – left open – rough translations
like the coded language of telegrams –
Are muted signals your intention?
And I’ll sit by my phone – as if
your voice is the waited-for-gift

Old Devices

We’d race to get the telephone –
stating our number as rote taught –
our mother in her poshest voice
but rough for sister talk

Relative news transmissions –
but not intended to be heard –
I knew nothing of kindred facts
’til I stole truth from her words

We were ignorant between acts –
maybe flattening an irksome book –
we’d stare through the yellowed nets
whilst half-tuned to loosened talk

We tugged at the reluctant drawers
where our history was lost and found –
there tucked between old table mats –
sepia smiles were loosely bound

News bulletins marked the hours
or were shoved through the letterbox –
that narrow window on the world –
ink fears of the Eastern bloc

Ignorance was a short-lived bliss
in those disconnected times –
no algorithms on our wrists
to redress the truths and lies

Call Ended

When I touched the button
and killed our discourse
I ripped with emptiness
then filled with remorse

I cannot handle
these telephonic wars –
I start thinking out loud
my unspoken thoughts

I struggle with distances
logged by servers and silos –
those creeping tendrils
gathering ones and zeros

But my ear is pressed
to heed numbers you say –
of your long hours awake
and your days still away

We have lost the buttons
and slow rotary dials –
these phones are devices
which hack our denials

Mobile

The area code was known
to me

and for a few footsteps
I wished it was bad news

such that would end it all

my troubled family history
which crawls from me
could be sorted within seconds

instead it is another person
calling from the same place

and not the dialled news
of a family death